Recently I came across these two sentences in chapter 6 of Tobira:


私も変だと思うだけど、でも、私の友達にも結婚式は絶対に教会でしたいと思っている人、結構いるんだ。(here, both the people in the dialogue think it weird that Japanese people would choose to marry at a christian church, which I think contrasts with the opinion of this friend)

My question is about the use of に in these situations: what do they mean or what is their function?

Regarding the first one, I think it means the same as は does alone, but then why use the に?

The second one I find more complicated. I can think of it as meaning "for my friend there are quite a lot of people that want to...", but it does not seem right when seeing the bigger context.

2 Answers 2


The に means (abstract) location for いる.

In Japanese, いる can be used not only for There is/are... but also for (someone) has..., where someone is indicated by に.

  • 部屋に子供がいる There is a child in the room.
  • 私に(は)3人の子供がいる I have three children ('Three children exist at me')

For the sentences in question, 天照大神に topicalizes the 'location' 天照大神に; it does not change the meaning, but more often には is used for this case than に alone.

In the second sentence, 私の友達に is slightly different from the above (see the examples below) and means among my friends. It means the same as 私の友達の中に. も add also, so 私の友達にも...思っている人、結構いるんだ means (Not only those you talked about,) also among my friends, there are many people that ...

  • 私の友達に(は)弟がいる My friend has a brother
  • 私の友達に美容師がいる One of my friends is a hair dresser.

The first に is a に of location/possession. It's the same pattern as アパートに弟がいた。, or 私に本がある。You do often see the possessor indicated with は but I think that conceptually it's not so much that you start with は for possession and then can randomly add に, but instead that you start with に for possession, add は for emphasis, then can drop the に.

The second に tripped me up for a second as well, but I think the confusion actually stems from a sentence-parsing problem. The 私の友達にも bit doesn't belong to the と思っている modifying clause, it belongs to the wider sentence. I.e. 私の友達にも[結婚式は絶対に教会でしたいと思っている]人、結構いるんだ。Basically, "among my friends, there are a lot of people who want to have their wedding in a church." A simpler sentence following the same pattern would be something like "私の友達に外国人が結構います。 Among my friends there are many foreigners."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .